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Nature reduces risk, edtech deals in India, investment exits with impact

Greetings, ImpactAlpha readers! #Featured: Returns on Investment Podcast Nature reduces risk. The Nature Conservancy’s Kathy Baughman McLeod led participants in chanting, “Nature reduces risk, nature reduces risk,” at last week’s conservation finance conference at Credit Suisse in New York. Our roundtable regulars, Imogen Rose-Smith, Brian Walsh and David Bank took up the chant in our

Nature Reduces Risk: Financing large-scale conservation (podcast)

Did you know that 60 agricultural producers and other companies have a collective liability of up to $500 million to comply with their pledges for deforestation-free production of palm oil? Neither did many of their banks and other lenders, who generally don’t like such hidden risks. The “Sustainable Commodity Conservation Mechanism” was one of the most intriguing — and

First the sun, now the wind

China is already the world’s largest producer of solar energy. By 2022, it will also become the world’s offshore wind leader, according to new research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (paywall). Globally, offshore-wind capacity is expected to hit 115 gigawatts by 2030, up from almost 18 GW today, the report says. Thank China’s commitments in the

Husk Power secures $20 million for micro-grid expansion

Bihar, India-based Husk delivers mini-power grids in rural India and East Africa. Its technology uses solar, biogas and batteries. Shell Technology Ventures, French utility ENGIE’s impact investment fund, and the Swedish development finance institution Swedfund International backed the $20 million equity round. Husk originally made biogas systems powered by rice husks, but in 2013 changed its model

Voatz raises $2.2 million to improve election transparency

Can blockchain make voting more secure? Boston-based Voatz makes mobile-voting software that uses the distributed-ledger technology to safeguard results. Originally designed for university elections, the smartphone software aims to encourage greater participation in elections by making voting more convenient. It is used by labor unions, non-profits and town governments. Urban Innovation Fund; business coach Joe

ResponsAbility invests in ag-finance venture Samunnati

Chennai-based Samunnati lends to India’s small farmers and agriculture businesses; loans are based on cash flow, which helps ease debt-repayment pressure that has hurt other ag-credit programs. It operates in 10 states and disbursed $80 million in credit since 2014. It also supports borrowers with financial intermediation, advising and market connections. The investment, amount undisclosed,

Calling all impact finance MBA students

In the Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge, graduate-student teams worldwide compete to come up with new ideas for investing for impact. Winners receive mentoring, networking and $15,000 in cash. Past winners include EduIndia, which finances new private schools in India; Terra Limpa, an Angolan fund to improve agriculture productivity and land ownership; and Fresh Coast Capital,